"We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment"- Jim Rohn.
Pardon the drama of this quote, but I feel it is appropriate for where I am in my recovery. I passed the two month mark on Wednesday and the pain still hasn't gotten much better with bending. At physical therapy today, my therapist reminded me that most MPFL patients regain full range of motion after 8 weeks, and I'm still nowhere close to that. However, I made a lot of great progress at PT today. Doing wall slides, I was able to push my knee to bend to 115 degrees, which while it was not comfortable, made me feel much better. I never want to get to the point in my rehab where my doctor or physical therapist tell me that if I had sucked it up and gotten through the pain sooner, that bending would be easier. No matter what happens, I want to not have any regrets or wish that if I had done more or tried harder, things would have been easier.
One thing I have made a lot of progress with is biking. I started with pedaling backward about 3 weeks ago. Because of all the bending and the pain, my therapist had me start pedaling with the seat much higher than normal, which was a weird sensation. At first, I was barely able to get my leg around and when I did, it was painful. However, I slowly progressed from being able to do about 20 reps with the seat at 13 to doing 50 with the seat between 11 and 12. After a week, I was allowed to pedal forward as well and in the last 2 weeks have progressed to 110 reps both forward and backward with the seat at 9. Today at PT I actually felt like I was really riding a bike, not just doing rotations. I stayed on for 5 minutes and was able to get up to 55 RPM (which was tough because I am so out of shape!) It felt great to hit that milestone and feel like I was really making progress. I don't vouch for how many rotations to do or how high to have the seat but biking is a great way to help get range of motion back after surgery!
One thing this rehab has taught me to appreciate is toughness. I hope no one else's MPFL rehab is this painful and I don't want to scare anyone by commenting on how bad mine is. However, I'd be lying if I didn't include the pain because it really has been tough to get past. Keep in mind that this is coming from someone who's dislocated their knee, had 3 surgeries, and whose body is used to protecting their knee like no one's business. Those of you who haven't had surgery before may not have the same mental blocks (I hope!). However, I have learned to push past the pain and push myself like never before. I have had to learn to pass the threshold of what my body thought was too much pain multiple times and keep pushing until I felt like I could black out. Yet I feel stronger because I know my body is capable of so much more than I ever thought.